“I love to see how excited the kids get for my visit. It means that the stories are speaking to them and enriching their lives. Plus, I get treated like a celebrity when I arrive, with hugs and kisses. It always makes my day,” - Rebecca
Bellevue, WA (PRWEB) June 26, 2014
Entirenet is proud to recognize Xbox Support technical writer, Rebecca Agiewich’s community volunteer efforts with Seattle-based, non-profit Page Ahead. Washington State’s largest provider of children’s literary services, Page Ahead has one key goal: improve reading and language skills for at-risk youth from birth to 12 years of age.
According to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, by the fourth grade, only 68% of children from low-income families in Washington State can read at a basic level, compared to 88% from more affluent households. Page Ahead is working to turn this around.
Founded in 1990, Page Ahead partners with over 200 schools, social service agencies, childhood centers, and shelters across the state to provide new books to children and their families, along with access to reading events and other literacy-based community programs. Since its inception, Page Ahead has distributed more than 2.3 million books to 650,000 at-risk children.
Working from the proven fact that “succeeding begins with reading,” Page Ahead also offers a wildly popular Story Time program for schools within King and Pierce Counties. Rebecca is one of the more than 450 volunteers who support the Story Time program. She and fellow volunteers read stories based on selected themes, sing songs, and do crafts related to a story, providing enriching engagement and vital learning opportunities.
For the past six years, Rebecca has been volunteering once a month with 22 kindergarteners at a Page Ahead location in Seattle. “I have a passion for books, writing, and working with kids, so it seemed like a natural fit when I discovered this volunteer position. The kids are so happy, and they make me feel so happy,” said Rebecca.
“Rebecca has been visiting our kindergarten class every month to read stories and do a craft. The students love Rebecca’s enthusiasm in her storytelling and they love how she is able to bring the story to life,” praised kindergarten teacher, Gloria Cho. “It is nice to have someone from the community come to read stories, which are engaging and meaningful. The students talk about their monthly experiences with their families and cannot wait for their next visit from Rebecca.”
And it is not just the teachers praising the Page Ahead Story Time program, the kids rave too.
“Some of the stories can teach you lessons for all your life,” said David, a student at DeLong Elementary, Tacoma.
“Without books, my life is ruined! That’s how much I love books,” said Shaheed, a student at Bryn Mawr Elementary.
Teachers sign up for Story Time to increase their class reading time, expose students to new books, and introduce classes to other adult readers. Last year, 84% of teachers rated Page Ahead’s Story Time program as excellent, and 97% were interested in continuing the program next year.
Rebecca has been with Entirenet for two years, and is also a novelist, freelance travel writer, and creative writing teacher. She has published a novel for adults, BreakupBabe: A Novel (Ballantine Books, 2006), and is currently working on another novel for middle-school-aged children. Besides writing and reading, Rebecca also enjoys the great outdoors, biking, hiking, skiing, kayaking, or backpacking whenever she gets the chance.